Afro-Asian Writers Union launches Edward Kharrat Prize for Literary Creativity

Reham El-Adawi , Monday 18 Mar 2024

The Afro-Asian Writers Union (AAWU) has launched the Edward El-Kharrat Prize for Literary Creativity in celebration of the Egyptian novelist and short story writer.



"Edward El-Kharrat was one of the brightest stars of the AAWU for nearly a quarter of a century," said Ahmed El-Moslemani, former presidential advisor and secretary-general of the Afro-Asian and Latin America Writers Union, on Sunday. 

"El-Kharrat was one of the great writers who left their mark on literary narrative. Honouring him today is a celebration of a literary movement."

The AAWU hosted the founding meeting of the prize at its headquarters in central Cairo, which resulted in the formation of a Board of Trustees chaired by novelist and critic Mai El-Telmisani, professor of Arabic and cinema studies at the University of Ottawa in Canada. 

The board comprises writer and intellectual Nabil Abdel-Fattah, advisor at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies; writer and critic Ehab El-Mallaah; writer and novelist Doaa Assi; and writer and critic Mohamed Shaer. 

Moreover, the board includes members from El-Kharrat family, such as Ihab El-Kharrat, a consultant in psychiatry; and Ayman El-Kharrat, a professor of photography and documentary filmmaker.

The prize, named the Edward El-Kharrat Prize for Literary Creativity, will be held annually, alternating yearly between the Egyptian and Arab realms, read a statement by the Board of Trustees.

The prize is dedicated to published literary works by writers under the age of 35.

The winner will be announced in December of each year in commemoration of the death anniversary of El-Kharrat.

El-Kharrat, a novelist and short story writer, was born in Alexandria in 1926.

His collection of short stories "The High Walls," published in 1959, is regarded as a turning point in Arabic narrative.

The AAWU was founded in 1958 in Sri Lanka and held its founding conference in Turkey. Latin America joined the union after the union's conference in Vietnam in 2013.

When former Egyptian culture minister Youssef El-Sebai took over the leadership of the union, he relocated the headquarters to Cairo.

The union is an international NGO and the intellectual arm of the Non-Aligned Movement, with 47 member countries from three continents.

Many prominent intellectual and cultural figures have joined the union since its inception, such as author Lotfi El-Khouli, who took over as secretary-general of the union after El-Sebai, writer Abdel-Rahman El-Sharqawi, and poet Mahmoud Darwish.

Short link: